I don’t exactly remember where I found out about Liz Crowe’s books. I subscribe to a lot of Facebook groups about popular romance novels and one day there was an obscure post about her Stewart Realty series’ 4th book, ESSENCE OF TIME. At the time I was a girl without a book and a week’s worth of waiting on my younger chicklet’s dance recital rehearsals ahead of me. So, I backed up the truck and figured out the series’ order. I jumped into FLOOR TIME and within a very short amount of time I was all caught up in the exploits of Jack Gordon and Sara Thornton and the rest of the crew from Ann Arbor, MI (a.k.a. “A2”).
Let’s put it this way…they’re not going to live Happily Ever After anytime soon, but their journey is SO worth taking. So far there are 7 novels and and a novella. The last novel is set to release in November. The series’ order is
- Floor Time
- Sweat Equity
- Closing Costs
- Essence of Time
- Conditional Offer
- Escalation Clause
- Mutual Release (standalone or read in series order)
- Good Faith (standalone or read in series order)
- House Rules (Novella of Jack’s back story, which is best read after CLOSING COSTS, in my opinion)
The first three books are essentially a stand-alone “trilogy” and you could stop there if you wanted to. You must at the VERY least read the first three as if they were ONE BOOK. You can even buy them bundled as a trilogy. This would also be a good time to fit in Jack’s back story, HOUSE RULES. You could do that…you could totally do that.
DON’T DO THAT!!! ESSENCE OF TIME is worth its weight in gold. The end of the book is one of the best endings of a book I’ve ever been privileged to read. Yep…it’s right up there. (I sadly finished it lying in bed at a pre-dawn hour and had nobody to cry with, although I think I may have woken up my husband on accident.) A fair warning that it’s intense and will render you a hopeless reading junkie until you can get to the next book. ESSENCE OF TIME sets up the rest of the series and suddenly everything is 10 times richer and layered and infuriating and wonderful. Liz Crowe doesn’t really do “Happily Ever After”. She does “What Happens After”…and she does it better than most.
Liz Crowe is a renaissance woman. Beer blogger. Microbrewery owner. Soccer mom. Former real estate agent. Relationship fiction author. (She may or may not be an international spy…she did live all over the world at one point.) Her books tend to revolve around her interests, so this is how you end up caring about a collection of characters who work around beer, play soccer, and sell real estate. As a reader who doesn’t drink beer, play soccer, or have any interest in real estate, you should know that none of these facts detracts from the experience. I can talk about hops now with some degree of certainty, though, so that’s good.
These characters also have LOTS of hot sex. It’s not sex for the sake of sex, though, like so MANY novels on the market these days. The characters’ choices are often infuriating, and yet you’ll root for them and cry for them and rail against them and keep reading because to not keep reading might actually kill you. There are straight, bi-sexual, and gay characters in “Stewart Realty”, along with characters who engage in BDSM (MUTUAL RELEASE is the most BDSM-centric of the series) and others who are plain vanilla (but not boring).
GOOD FAITH is the epic standalone finale. It’s not a romance. It’s an experience. Read all about it here.
Plan on reading the whole series, because if you give up on any of them before the series ends, you’ll miss out. I WILL BE SAD FOR YOU. More than any series I’ve ever read, this one is a cable series waiting to happen. HBO? Showtime? Are you listening, Starz? And it shouldn’t be schlocky, either. It should be brilliant and artistic and Emmy-winning. The script material is already available…so let’s do this.
I’m not going to share the rest characters with you or even the major plot lines. I don’t want to spoil a thing for you. It’s all just too good when you read it on your own. You’re welcome.
Visit Liz’s website for all her goings-on and other series and stand alone titles.
AUDIOBOOKS are now available for FLOOR TIME, SWEAT EQUITY, and CLOSING COSTS. If purchased through Amazon in book form (ebook or paperback), the audiobook is only $1.99. Traci Odom’s narration is excellent.